We are living in the thick of a very harsh economic climate. There are numerous crippling circumstances currently in motion some of which are hyperinflation, fuel shortages, foreign currency shortages and dwindling levels of income. Virtually no one has been spared be it the business community or the consumers. The universal principle of not making your day job your sole source of income still holds true today. It’s actually in times like these where salaries have remained mainly static when one must explore multiple income streams. The best way to achieve that is through venturing into business. However, the current operating environment is riddled with so many unfavourable situations. So how can one start a business in such a tough time? This article is going to discuss some tips in that regard.

Don’t Bite More Than You Can Chew

The environment we’re operating in is characterised by a lot of volatility and incessant changes. Monetary policies can be changed overnight and trigger a chain of changes across the whole market. Exchange rates movements are also mercurial thus making it difficult to plan in the long term. I’m saying all this to make you see that you must start your business very small. The idea here is to then slowly and steadily study the market and gradually scale the business step by step. Even in cases where some catastrophic market development happens you won’t suffer a colossal loss.

Research Diligently Prior

Before you even start the business you must embark on comprehensive research. Things like market research and feasibility studies must be thoroughly done. There are a lot of people starting businesses simply because others are doing them. Businesses are just like human fingerprints; they are never exactly the same. So you must research to make sense of your intended business venture according to your specific context. Don’t assume that the business will sail through and customers will come through. Considering the environment we’re in you can’t afford to do trial and error. Losing even a single dollar is very undesirable so only start a business based on empirical evidence that it’ll work. If you’re diligent enough in this respect you’ll even realise that maybe you shouldn’t even start the business or maybe you have to redefine the business concept.

Carefully Consider Your Financing Options

Financing is obviously very problematic in tough times. Credit markets tend to be very paranoid when it comes to financing business ventures in tough times. Even in cases where they do provide funding, they charge very steep interest rates in order to cushion themselves against possible losses. However, my solemn advice to you is to never take out loans from financing institutions – especially in tough times. The possibilities of getting losses in your business are constantly staring you in the face. So don’t put yourself in a scenario where you live on a knife-edge. Rather explore other financing options that have less risk and pressure involved. Some of them are using your own savings or selling off some of your assets to raise funds.

Explore Cost Limiting Measures

Cost-cutting must be your daily mantra in setting up and starting off your business. Wherever possible always find ways to eliminate or reduce costs. For instance, learn the art of negotiation especially when it comes to your fixed business costs. I’m referring to costs such as rentals and procurements. Take advantage of the prevailing situation and use it as a negotiating basis. In tough times chances are always high that you’re desperate to save whilst the next person is looking to make a quick buck. So take advantage of that to negotiate for paying less than required at all times. When it comes to procuring stock and other things don’t just stick one supplier. Take time to explore numerous suppliers so as to compare prices – you’ll be amazed at how much you might save from such an exercise. Instead of outsourcing, you can do some functions in-house if the cost is reduced by doing so.

Leverage On The Internet And Social Media

The internet and social media wield so much power to help you limit the costs of doing business. Make digital marketing your mainstay by marketing your products or services through social media. If you produce engaging content you can effectively advertise your brand using organic posts (i.e. without doing paid posts). The options are plenty, as in, you can have a website set up, take advantage of email marketing and so on. Even social media platforms like WhatsApp can be effectively used to do marketing for your business. Relatively low costs are associated with the use of the internet and social media. Never mind data prices or power cuts – you don’t necessarily have to be online every moment to use the internet and social media for business.

Network Extensively

Do all it takes to land more and more customers. Also, explore ways to strike strategic partnerships with other business players. This can be done through networking either physically or virtually. I’ve often remarked on how business people are actually realizing a lot of revenue by getting customers and strategic partners through WhatsApp platforms. It’s a trend that I’m seeing across all the mainly used social media platforms. There are always physical networking events being organized and conducted every week. The internet and social media are usually used to publicize such events. It’s important as a business person that you attend such events whenever possible.

So you must be very thoughtful and shrewd during tough times. Always have an eye out and your eyes open to understand the ever-changing environment.  Never make the mistake of thinking that a business can’t be started in tough times; it can be started! The considerations you’ll make and how you’ll implement your business idea is all it takes to succeed or not. That’s the reason for these 6 tips which if bore in mind and implemented well will set you on a course of business success.